CASE STUDY: Addressing a Floor Cleaning Challenge in a Minnesota Health Care Facility
A former scientist, Frank Zamudio, of Crothal Healthcare Services, now oversees the environmental services department of an 800,000-square-foot healthcare center in St. Cloud, Minn. The facility has approximately 200,000 square feet of hard-surface textured flooring, much of which is porous, in some cases uneven, and heavily trafficked. This has proven to be an ongoing cleaning challenge at the facility for several years.
“We’ve tried just about everything, and nothing seems to work,” says Zamudio, referring to the floor care equipment, machines, and chemicals that have been used to clean and maintain the floors over the years. He admits one cleaning method did prove effective--but it came with a price.
“We tried a steamer and actually steam cleaned the individual tiles,” says Zamudio. “But this took as much as a couple of minutes per tile. With 200,000 square feet, that is way too labor intensive to even consider in a facility like ours.”
Zamudio adds that they have also tried various chemical treatments, including bleach. However, the odor and fumes that resulted became a significant concern. And because the facility is making a serious effort to operate in a more environmentally friendly manner, using such powerful chemicals was no longer viable. At this point, Zamudio felt he was running out of options.
A Weekend with the King
A jansan distributor encouraged Zamudio to try using the King Cobra 1200 floor cleaning machine on the problematic floors at the St. Cloud facility. The machine, manufactured by U.S. Products, was put into use on a Friday and, because the initial results were so promising, was used for 16 hours per day for three days over the weekend. In that time the machine was able to clean more than 150,000 square feet of tiled floor space throughout the facility.
To clean the floors, Zamudio and his crew first mopped the floors with an inexpensive, diluted degreaser/cleaner. As much as an eighth of an inch of solution was left to dwell on the floors. After a few minutes, the King Cobra 1200 was brought in to pressure rinse and extract the solution from the floors.
In areas where there was minimal soil buildup, the same cleaning procedure was followed but with no chemicals used at all. Although it is still in its experimental stage, in many cases and with the right equipment, no-chemical cleaning is proving to be very successful. Not only can it reduce costs significantly, but it can also be the ultimate in environmentally preferable cleaning, having little or no impact on the cleaning professional, building users, and the environment.
Whether chemicals were used or not, the results using the King Cobra 1200 were the same. According to Zamudio, the floors came out exceptionally well cleaned and the grout areas were also noticeably cleaner.
“This is one of the few [floor cleaning] machines I really believe in. It’s not a silver bullet, but it comes as close to one as I have ever seen,” says Zamudio. “We ran this King Cobra for 16 hours a day for three days and it never missed a beat...and our floors were restored beautifully.”
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